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Hometown Picnic at Maymont in Richmond, Virginia

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“What’s your favorite spot to have a picnic?”

When I sat down to write my answer to this week’s question, I had to struggle to think of the last time I actually “went on a picnic.” Sure I have eaten a sandwich wrapped in cellophane several times in recent memory… a picnic by default, really.  These sandwiches were consumed  in some really remarkable places such as a roadside picnic table at Ceasars Head State Park here in South Carolina and on a bench in Rome. But my favorite?

For that I have to go back to my childhood to Maymont.

Maymont is a remarkable 100 acre property located on the banks of the James River in Richmond, Virginia.  The property was given for use as a public park by James and Sallie Dooley who lived in the property’s Victorian mansion from 1893 – 1925.

Now that I have been away for a while, I will tell you that I used to kind of take Maymont for granted.  I assumed everywhere had such places of varied and beautiful terrain; part park, part zoo, part gardens, and part museum.

Going to Maymont is actually one of my earliest memories. When I was very young my favorite part of was the zoo; as I grew older it was the Japanese Gardens. But my favorite thing to do at Maymont has always been to have a picnic.  Exact favorite spot? On the hill adjacent to the Maymont Mansion. If you’re ever in Richmond, be sure not to miss it – and it’s free! (donations are encouraged.)

Maymont Park Richmond Virginia

If I were in Richmond, Virginia, right now, I would go pick out a box lunch at Sally Bell’s Kitchen and head on over. (Today I have a taste for chicken salad.)

So what’s your favorite spot to have a picnic?

If you’re headed to Rome sometime, you may want to check out Rome’s 5 Best Picnic Locations.

For more information about our monthly cafe chat, Across the Cafe Table, visit here.

photos: davidlind

About the author

I’m a writer, editor and educator who is now based in the Boston area after spending several years living abroad in Ireland, Spain and Italy. While I spend most of my time writing and editing for the web (these days you’ll find on, I still love the feeling of holding a newspaper or magazine in my hands. If you’d like to know what I’m up to right now, you can find me at and on Twitter @brianapalma.

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